LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Although his identity remains unknown, the boy found dead in a suitcase last month in southern Indiana has died of electrolyte imbalance, state police said Friday. ‘Indiana.
There were no signs of neglect or traumatic injuries, Indiana State Police Sgt. Carey Huls added during a press conference to announce the results of the autopsy, which was completed last week. But questions remain – Huls said investigators have still been unable to determine whether the child was dead or alive when he was placed in the suitcase, bearing a distinctive ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las’ design. Vegas Nevada” painted on its hull.
The child was clean and dressed, Huls said, but police won’t release a description of the clothes he was wearing because it could lead to an influx of incorrect tips. And anyway, says Huls, “someone knows something.”
“He didn’t put himself in that suitcase. Somebody did,” Huls said. “Someone out there has first-hand knowledge of what happened in the situation…and we need that person to come forward.”
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The electrolyte imbalance, Huls said, was “most likely caused by gastroenteritis, which, simply put, would be vomiting and diarrhea. And that led to dehydration.”
Gastroenteritis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites or medications, according to the Mayo Clinic. The toxicology report was negative.
The Washington County Coroner’s Office, which performed the autopsy, did not immediately respond to a phone call Friday afternoon requesting full autopsy results.
The child, who is black and believed to be about 5 years old, was found on April 16 in the woods of southern Indiana, about 70 miles south of Indianapolis and 25 miles northwest of Louisville, Ky.
He was about 4 feet tall, with a slim build and a short haircut. Investigators said they believe the boy’s death occurred in the week before he was discovered.
This boy does not fit any of the descriptions of children on the National Missing Children’s List, Huls said. He added that the boy is not Codi Bigsby, a 4-year-old boy from Virginia who went missing Jan. 31.
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Huls said local police have worked on cases involving missing children before. Yet this is a unique situation.
“This case is different. I mean, it’s not a missing children case where we have a child that we know exists,” Huls said. “We have a kid that we know nothing about…and no one wants to come forward and say, ‘I know that kid, he’s my kid’ or ‘I know how that kid got there. “”
The child will be buried next week after a funeral service scheduled by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
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“This little boy was not respected in life and we at Washington County want to make sure he is respected in death,” Todd Murphy, the department’s chaplain, said earlier this week.
The funeral service will be held at Weathers Funeral Home in Salem at 11 a.m. Wednesday, followed by his interment at Crown Hill Cemetery.
All of the service’s expenses were covered, Murphy said.
“It was amazing,” he said. “He was adopted by the county. We want to make sure he is properly cared for and properly rested.”
Anyone with information about the boy’s case or identity is asked to call 1-888-437-6432.
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